Source: Inter Press Service
In the 1960s, it went by the name of Latin American Security Operation, or Plan LASO; today it is known as Plan Colombia. Back then, the aim was to weed out communism; now it is to combat drug trafficking, while at the same time dealing a blow to the guerrillas.
But at that time or today, the interests of the United States are at stake, although the killing takes place in Colombia – whether in the fight against communists, guerrillas, drug traffickers, or all of them together.
In May 1964, the teletype machines were clicking as a United Press International (UPI) cable arrived from Washington about “a group of special forces technicians of the United States Army sent to Colombia with (the) purpose of instructing soldiers and police in counter-guerrilla tactics.”
The advisers formed part of a campaign started by President Alberto Lleras (1945-1946 and 1958-1962) and continued by his successor Guillermo León Valencia (1962-1966).
The UPI cable goes on to say that “one of the principal tactics employed in the counter-guerrilla operations was the implementation of psycho-warfare which brought about the cooperation and trust of the indigenous population.”
The tactics used in the June 1964 attack on Marquetalia, a remote mountainous region in central Colombia, left no doubt as to who provided the advisers and training for the Colombian troops that, commanded by Colonel José Joaquín Matallana, started their offensive by dropping leaflets from the air urging local peasant farmers not to support the guerrillas.